Best used for the mastery of mental or physical skills that require practice, the demonstration-performance method is based on the principle that people learn by doing. In this method, students observe the skill and then try to reproduce it. It is well suited for the aircraft maintenance instructor who uses it in the shop to teach welding, and the flight instructor who uses it in teaching piloting skills.
Every instructor should recognize the importance of student performance in the learning process. Early in a lesson that is to include demonstration and performance, the instructor should identify the most important learning outcomes. Next, explain and demonstrate the steps involved in performing the skill being taught. Then, allow students time to practice each step, so they can increase their ability to perform the skill.
The demonstration-performance method is divided into five phases: explanation, demonstration, student performance, instructor supervision, and evaluation. [Figure 4-15]
Explanations must be clear, pertinent to the objectives of the particular lesson to be presented, and based on the known experience and knowledge of the students. In teaching a skill, the instructor must convey to the students the precise actions they are to perform. In addition to the necessary steps, the instructor should describe the end result of these efforts. Before leaving this phase, the instructor should encourage students to ask questions about any step of the procedure that they do not understand.
The instructor must show students the actions necessary to perform a skill. As little extraneous activity as possible should be included in the demonstration if students are to clearly understand the instructor is accurately performing the actions previously explained. If, due to some unanticipated circumstances, the demonstration does not closely conform to the explanation, this deviation should be immediately acknowledged and explained.
Student Performance and Instructor Supervision Phases
Because these two phases, which involve separate actions, are performed concurrently, they are discussed here under a single heading. The first of these phases is the student’s performance of the physical or mental skills that have been explained and demonstrated. The second activity is the instructor’s supervision.
Student performance requires students to act and do. To learn skills, students must practice. The instructor must, therefore, allot enough time for meaningful student activity. Through doing, students learn to follow correct procedures and to reach established standards. It is important that students be given an opportunity to perform the skill as soon as possible after a demonstration. In flight training, the instructor may allow the student to follow along on the controls during the demonstration of a maneuver. Immediately thereafter, the instructor should have the student attempt to perform the maneuver, coaching as necessary. In the opening scenario, students performed a task (weight and balance computation) as a group, and prior to terminating the performance phase, they were allowed to independently complete the task at least once with supervision and coaching as necessary.
In this phase, the instructor judges student performance. The student displays whatever competence has been attained, and the instructor discovers just how well the skill has been learned. To test each student’s ability to perform, the instructor requires students to work independently throughout this phase and makes some comment about how each performed the skill relative to the way it was taught. From this measurement of student achievement, the instructor determines the effectiveness of the instruction.